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Language: 1984, Brave New World, And Modern Manifestations

1838 words - 8 pages

The word language originated from a vulgar word in Latin “Linguaticum” which meant “tongue” back in the 12th Century. From there, the word can be traced to Old French in the late 13th Century where it had the spelling “Langage”. The form that we know today “language” rose from c.1300 and was used in Anglo-French and Middle English dialects. From there language has taken on the meaning of “the system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings to each other”. Language however, has a deeper affect than one might think on thoughts and more importantly, human feelings and emotions.
To begin, if Language were an element, it would be Oxygen. Oxygen is pervasive in our world and without it, our world would be lifeless and human life especially could not exist. Language, like oxygen, is vital to the survival of humans as it provides a means of communication to share thoughts with others in our society and in our world. Oxygen, when contaminated, becomes harmful to those who depend on it. Similarly, when language is tampered with, it quickly affects society and harms the ability of people to express their thoughts. Likewise, In the novel, “1984” written by George Orwell, the characters speak a version of English called Newspeak which effectively controls speech against the Party and serves to limit thought on a deeper, subconscious level. In addition, in the novel “Brave New World ” by Aldous Huxley, the same ideals of restricting human thought is present. Furthermore, these effects are visible in modern times and in modern languages.
According to the author, Language controls the thoughts of characters throughout 1984. For example, most of the characters in 1984 have a vocabulary consisting only of the few words in the Newspeak dictionary. The language of Newspeak contains words that are edited constantly by the Party so that they cannot be used to speak out against the Party. By emphasizing the use of Newspeak throughout the novel, George Orwell seeks to show the reader the amount of control that the Party holds over its citizens simply through language. In addition, because Newspeak is similar to regular English, Orwell’s intention is that the reader should be able to identify with the characters because they speak the “same” language. George Orwell’s message is that if “thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought”(Orwell 1984). To be put simply, without the ability to express one’s thoughts through language, the thought itself is restricted and can even be eradicated. Because of this fact, the Party in 1984 can prevent the spread of anti-Party thoughts and ideas throughout Oceania by merely editing the dictionary and the words contained in it. By this simple action, the Party effectively owns the thoughts of it’s citizens and can manipulate them to speak good of the Party and ignore the harmful “reality” that could lead to Oceania’s downfall. Furthermore, because Proles only communicate in Oldspeak, and the...

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